Seattle-based VR studio Against Gravity has today announced they have received $5M in seed funding to continue to build Rec Room, the studio’s social VR platform.
Only launching last summer, the app has quickly become a success story, winning over fans on both Steam and Oculus Home with high marks. Rec Room seems to have found a winning formula with its over-the-top, YMCA-style social space, which gives you the ability to do everything from playing leisure sports to fist bumping, letting you create a ‘team’ so you can stay together as you tour the app’s many activities.
Rec Room is markedly more emotive than other social VR platforms, plastering your avatar with a melange of cute emojis that seem to cycle at a nearly human-level. Even if the emotes aren’t tied to your actual facial position though, you really can’t help but smile at them (really, it’s all in your brain).
Against Gravity maintains they’ve raised the $5M “to continue to build the future of Social VR.” Investors include of Sequoia, First Round, Acequia, Vulcan, Maveron, Anorak, Betaworks, The Venture Reality Fund, and many angel investors including investor and new Against Gravity board member Charles Fitzgerald.
The studio says that over 100,000 users visited Rec Room in the second half of 2016, having played over 1 million games, exchanging over 1 million high fives, and firing nearly a billion paintballs at each other—just one of their many games including dodgeball, 3D charades, disc golf, and zero-G paddle ball.
Future improvements to the platform include streamlining the UX and refining systems that can help minimize trolling and harassment. “We want to make it easier to find your current friends and to make new ones. We also plan to give you more ways to interact with those friends, both inside VR and out (oh my!).” writes Against Gravity CEO Nick Fajt in a recent blogpost. “With your help, we’ll be improving and extending both active and passive systems that let you manage specific situations based on your personal preferences, and that help us understand broad community trends to minimize bad interactions in general.”
Fajt formed Against Gravity after working as the Principal Program Manager on the HoloLens team at Microsoft, building the studio with previous HoloLens Creative Director turned CCO Cameron Brown. Fajt maintains the company will be keeping Rec Room free to download, “so anyone can join our community.”